As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas and you’re sitting around your dining room table eating a Thanksgiving meal or maybe your children are nestled in their beds waiting on Santa to come place presents under the tree, consider what it would be like if your family didn’t have that table to eat your meals at or your children didn’t have a bed to call their own. Since Beds for Kids inception in January 2011, we have been able to change that by providing over 1,550 beds to children and their families and over 8,280 units of essential furniture items. Daniel was recently on the David Chadwick radio show https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/david-chadwick-podcast/id96257275 and discussed in detail Beds for Kids mission and explained how Beds for Kids empowers those in need within our city. David and Daniel were also excited to announce on air that all year-end contributions will be matched up to $25,000. Through the generosity of several donors every dollar that you give will be doubled up to $25,000. We ask that you graciously consider Beds for Kids for your year-end giving. Your family’s holiday gift will change the life of another family’s holiday experience. If you would like to make a contribution click on the following link http://www.bedsforkids.org/monetary-donations/.
Recently Daniel and I sat down with Jeanette Reber, principal at Ashley Park Elementary, a Title I school on Charlotte’s West side. Mrs. Reber graciously gave us an hour and half of her time sharing, with much passion, the challenging environment the majority of her students live in daily. Every principal in Charlotte has a tough job ensuring the learning atmosphere is prime for their students’ success; however, principals like Mrs. Reber have additional struggles they must consider when caring for the students they shepherd and lead. Mrs. Reber’s students come from extremely marginalized communities where pantries at home are not always full, where local gang leaders are recruiting young boys as early as 5th grade, and where survival is an effort on the forefront of many of her 1st graders’ minds. Her school’s staff and teachers are much more than just educators and often times develop sobering insight to the home life of their students.
She shared story after story of her experiences with these children she loves so dearly. By the end of our time my soul was torn between both terrible heartache and excited jubilee. Daniel read my mind before I could speak and asked what else that Beds for Kids could specifically do to help her students and their families. “My children need lamps”. As if she knew the question was coming she said that the beds and kitchen tables and desks were awesome but that lamps were just as vital. “So many of my children live in housing where overhead lighting is minimal and possibly limited only to the bathroom and kitchen. Therefore my students end up doing their homework either inches away from the TV screen in order to see or on the bathroom countertop. So many students have been given multiple new book bags in August and bikes before Christmas but they still lack something as essential as a lamp all year long, and thus, they continue to struggle in school.” I was blown away, not just because I had never placed such emphasis on BFK providing lamps but that I had continued to assume that I knew the exact needs for those in poverty. God’s Word tells us in Galations “to carry each other’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.” And I am reminded that in order to truly share in the struggles of my neighbor as Christ calls us to, I must really come to know and spend time with my neighbor first.
All that being said, I ask for two things from those reading this blog post. 1) Help us collect more lamps to serve our families with and, 2) consider getting to know the neighbor you intend to serve before assuming what their greatest need is. Invite them over to a meal, spend time with another parent and have a play date with their children, and then see just what the Lord opens up your eyes to as you actually live in community with your neighbor rather than always serving them from a distance.
The Crawford family excitedly greeted our delivery team at the front door with huge smiles and hugs. Four generations of women were in the house, from grandma to great granddaughter; all standing in the kitchen in joyful conversation (holding the littlest who was just 2 years old). As each new bed was brought in the women shouted with gratitude and surprise at how great it was to finally have the much needed beds, the new kitchen table, a sofa and dressers in their home. Even after 45 minutes of bringing in the final piece and building the last bed frame they still gushed with gladness. And as our team prayed over their family, holding hands and asking for God’s presence and provision to rest on that household, it was obvious that they already knew that God had them in the fold of his robe providing each daily need. When our delivery team began to leave, the second youngest of the women (maybe 20), ran out to the truck and asked if she could briefly write a word of praise on the inside of the BFK truck alongside all the words of scripture and blessing written their before. It was her “mark” to remember just how God had revealed his greatness to her family on that regular Monday.
When the Furnishing Futures tagline was created at the end of 2011, it struck a chord with me, however, I didn’t realize until yesterday that I actually never understood what the true meaning of those two words were.
After many months of volunteering and working with Beds for Kids, I finally was able to make a trip with Brandon & Dennis to go serve some of our clients yesterday. It was such an emotional and profound afternoon for me. I met a couple that greeted us on a stairwell with excitement and smiles. We began to start unloading the truck and bringing the items up the stairwell, when I entered their home, I noticed that their house was empty. As the unpacking and moving went forward, through conversations with the couple, I learned they had 5 daughters between the ages of 3 & 7. We talked about the children and their personalities and I learned rather quickly that the little 3 year old had the run of the house. We were able to share a few laughs, a few pictures and a few moments of personal insight into their lives. As we put the children’s beds together and re-arranged furniture within the house, the parents were so grateful and filled with such joy, laughter and pride for their children. At that moment, I didn’t feel like we were serving clients in need, I felt we were helping close friends & family.
I walked away from there realizing that we are helping furnish futures by providing furniture to those in need, but that these families are helping furnish futures as well by showing us love, support and hope when times are difficult. The children started with a house full of love, we provided a house full of furniture and now God will provide a future full of optimism. To me, Beds for Kids isn’t just furnishing futures to those in need of furniture items, but to all of us no matter which side of the spectrum we fall into.
On Saturday February 11th, we had 60+ volunteers from 7 different churches come and spend the day here at the Beds for Kids warehouse. There was so much love, faith and inspiration in our warehouse that day, it was truly amazing! The volunteers helped with tasks such as delivering furniture to children and families in need, picking up donations from the community, prepping furniture for future deliveries, upholstering chairs, building a wood-working station, spreading mulch, sanding chairs and bunk beds to painting walls. We wanted to share some of the pictures from that day with you.
If you missed out, there is another opportunity to serve with LOVE week here at Beds for Kids this Saturday, February 18th 2012 from 9am to 12pm. Don’t forget to sign up..we look forward to seeing you at the warehouse.
To all the LOVE week volunteers, we honestly can’t say THANK YOU enough for all you did to help the children and families in need in Charlotte!!
It is hard to believe that it has already been a year! The last 12 months have provided many new and life changing moments. As I write this I am looking out in to a warehouse filled with furniture that will change lives in the next few weeks. We have been blessed to have hundreds of volunteers and donors supply us with the necessary items to fill 103 homes with hope and a brighter future. There have been many unforgettable days that have changed the way we view our calling.
Below are the top 10 milestones of 2011:
1. Forming the partnership with Ashley Furniture HomeStores in the Charlotte area.
2. Receiving a donation from a 7 year old girl after she raised $178 dollars from her hot chocolate stand for Beds for Kids.
3. Moving into an 11,000 square foot warehouse donated free of cost.
4. Having 50 volunteers from Charlotte ONE come serve in the warehouse one Saturday.
5. Receiving the donation from Davidson college of 24+ apartments of furniture.
6. The donation of a 18ft box truck.
7. Receiving a $25,000 matching gift.
8. Having someone who received a bed from us come and serve to help other families.
9. Seeing the TV commercial for the 1st time on ABC.
10. Being able to give out over 268 beds to children and their families.
Luquire George Andrews has selected five Charlotte-area nonprofits through an RFP process to receive free advertising, digital, public relations, social media and creative services during the agency’s third annual Goodstock™, a 24-hour pro bono marketing marathon being held Thursday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Nov. 11 at LGA’s offices. Over the past two years, LGA has donated more than $500,000 worth of pro bono services to 15 area nonprofits during Goodstock.
We honestly can’t thank LGA enough for selecting Beds for Kids. We are so excited to begin this creative working relationship with such an amazing company.
Please visit http://lgaadv.com/ to read the official press release from LGA and to view the other lucky non-profits who were selected as well.
Its been huge to see the progress made in the past couple weeks:
– We’ve moved all our inventory into our new warehouse at the corner of S. Tryon and Remount Road
– We’ve purchased and begun using our new 16-ft box truck to increase our pick-up and delivery capabilities each week
– We’ve had over 30 volunteers give an average of 3.5 hours in the past 3 weeks to help do a number of warehouse, pick-up and delivery tasks
– We’ve had some amazing publicity conversations with some big voices in Charlotte to help get the word out on the BFK cause
The list goes on and here are some pictures as proof of some of the service happening, click on the photos to enlarge them:
We’d like to give particularly share our gratitude with these BFK friends who have made it all possible in the past couple weeks: Kendrick T., Greg L., Kamilah P., Steve & Wanda L., Donny E., Brooks F., Maddie P., Bryce B., Brett B., Quinn H., Trevor & Nick, Becky O., Mr & Mrs. Fogarty, Tim S., Pastor Rivens and Blue, Byron R., Tom & Nancy H., Laura L., The King Family and their newest addition, Sheilah M., Claire T., Aaron P., and so many more. Because of you all Beds For Kids has hands and feet to serve Charlotte with excellence and efficiency in a way that will bring lasting transformation to the whole community. THANK YOU from Daniel, Amanda & Brandon!
2 Great Upcoming Opportunities to Volunteer with Beds for Kids!!!
Friday, July 22nd Daniel and Brandon need some strong backs to come up to Davidson College and help load over 75 large furniture pieces in to the Beds for Kids‘ trucks. Please email Brandon if you’re interested at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
Saturday, July 23rdBeds for Kids will need people of all ages and talents to come and help up-fit the new warehouse on South Tryon Street! Those interested in helping with yard work, painting, organizing, moving furniture and more please email Brandon at email@example.com for more details.
Beds for Kids is moving to new heights but its not possible without the help of the community. Its our desire at BFK to do all things with excellence and to get all of Charlotte involved and this is the perfect way to begin our service to all. Those looking to move some heavy furniture for half a day give us your hands on Friday. And those who are available on Saturday we need all hands on deck at our warehouse!
It is our service to our neighbors that will bring Charlotte to the new heights we hope for.